Can we re-define “me time”?

I have used the excuse of needing me time to continue my being stressed the fuck out.
I just need some me time!
I have been thinking a lot about this “me time” thing and what it could mean for me. When I googled “me time” it came up with “taking time for yourself”.
What does it even mean to take time for yourself?
Desiring me time seems to be especially true for us mothers and it usually means time away from the children. We are often told by friends, family and professionals that we need to take time for ourselves and that it means without children. Also, we work hard so why wouldn’t we take time for ourselves? But again, what is time for ourselves? I think I need to redefine it though, there is just something missing…
In times when I have been stressed, I found that me time was never enough. I always went back to cranky-pants.
I understand needing time to reconnect with ourselves, but I ask, why are we getting lost?
I also understand the need to unwind and let go of stress but why are we so stressed out?
I am wondering if this need for me time (away from children) is a symptom of something. Something lost in the parent/child relationship? Something indicative of an unfulfilled life? When I am having a hard day, I think ” I just need to get away!” and then I imagine myself fleeing out the door shoeless and hair blowing. If I tell someone what I am thinking they always agree with me BUT I think it’s more true that what I really need is to slow down, breathe and just be with the children regardless of what is going on. I don’t want my kindness to be dependent on me having time away from them. It is in these times that I need to reconnect… With my children and with everything. I need to find the me time in being with the kids. I am still there. It is in these intense moments when we are the most vulnerable and therefore harbor the greatest capacity to connect with others. Those grand moments of stress and chaos are powerful opportunities not just for bonding. We can use them to demonstrate important life skills like problem solving and stress management. If I make the choice to just sit and be in my teary eyes and mess, I show my children a new side of me. I let go of attachments to ideas and thoughts, and the moment takes me over. They get to see what it means to be human.
Another symptom that may be causing us to crave time away from child could be, lack of support and community. This has been true for me, like when my husband is working a lot and I’m alone with the children for long periods of time. I’m not so sure that we are intended to live like that. I always feel better when someone else is around. I feel supported and more relaxed with more adults around and everything seems to go easier. Everyone shares their watchful eyes and helping hands. I’m writing this I have discovered that me time comes from feeling a deep sense of connection and joy, especially in hard situations. Maybe I need a little me time to find that? 😉

Now ask yourself honestly (as I do):
Are you REALLY enjoying your kids? Do you well up with joy and tears often? Do you look forward to them waking up? Is it a pleasure to just sit and watch your children play and explore?
I think that if we are having mostly positive experiences with our children, then this need for me time (time away) will not be a major focus. Getting to know them, seeing all their personalities becomes my me time. Healing myself so I’m not triggered constantly has become my me time. I have found my me time in unusual places… With a child who has enough trust in me to walk slowly hand in hand, not darting away into danger. Watching my children’s accomplishments and growth, especially if it is with being compassionate, that is me time, for me. It is truly rewarding to have children who fully embrace a younger child, attempting to feed and care for her. It restores my faith in humanity; me time. Sometimes my me time occurs when my children are sick. There’s something about comforting and holding that child who is normally so busy. I love being able to be with them in this way.
Children will be less needy and more capable of playing on their own for a bit if they feel a genuine connection to us. If they sense that we truly value their existence then there demand on us will be leas. This gives me time to reflect, read, organize, prepare food or just sit.
I am having a hard time understanding how being with my children is not time for myself. Their ability for deep intimacy can be so therapeutic
to a touch deprived culture. They are so natural and open with their love.
We only get our children for a short time. As they get older they spend more and more time needing us less. They make friends and find activities they love. I had better take the time now, when they are little before it’s gone. I’ve heard it comes fast.
I am not saying that we should never go out with our friends without our children. I do still enjoy my time alone, it’s just not a need that has spawned out of unhappiness. What I am saying is that it would be wonderful for us to expand what our me time means and that when it is without children, that it spawns out of energy and love. Never exhaustion and impatience. To go out free of guilt, anger and frustration is way more productive. I want my alone time to be free of mental baggage and not spawned out of desperation so I can really enjoy it!
So, in closing I will expertly say that you can look for your reasons in why you want that me time.

I would like to encourage you to look for your “me time” even when you are with your children. You can too become immersed in the pleasures and joys of parenting. Parent with purpose.
Peace.

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4 responses »

  1. Hey Nadine! I don’t see a way to contact you personally via your blog, so I know you’ll get it this way. I just took over editorship of Home Education Magazine and I am wanting to seriously rework the content. I’d like to ask you to consider writing for HEM. Call me to talk about it: 817.540.6423 or send me an email at barb.lundgren@tx.rr.com. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  2. You really couldn’t have said this better Nadine. I LOVED reading this blog. It warmed my heart. 🙂

    Katie

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